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Empire of Silence

Written by: Christopher Ruocchio
Narrated by: Samuel Roukin
Series: Sun Eater, Book 1
Length: 26 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy. 

It was not his war. On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. 

The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives - even the emperor himself - against Imperial orders. 

But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier. Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. 

Forced to fight as a gladiator and into the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fighting a war he did not start, for an empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

©2018 Christopher Ruocchio (P)2018 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Empire of Silence

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

good but quality changes

i love the narators reading amd the story is my fav scifi, only issue is the recording quality randomly changes for a single sentence here or there. it isnt horrible but it was really noticeable and took a second to get back into the story each time

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A superb space opera

Great story and use of foreshadowing. even though you're told the end at the very beginning, you're always wondering how it did. Narration was top drawer, I'm listening to Stephen Frye read Sherlock Holmes and his acting is of that level. Hate to compare it to Gormenghast, but I loved that book for the same reasons.

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Space Roman Empire - Not too original

This book follows in the vein of Red Rising, with a bit of Broken Empire built in. Nothing is very original. Hadrian is the son of a powerful planetary lord in a galactic empire. Like Red Rising the empire adheres strongly to the structures approximating the late Roman/Byzantine empire. Even the name Hadrian is that of a Roman emperor. So there is a strict observance of class, bloodlines. There is a feeble excuse for excluding certain technologies, like the equivalent of Google, or guns, that would be inconvenient to the plot and easily remove obstacles on which the plot depends. The reader is supposed to believe that a people that has empires encompassing planets has to remember everything because their religion forbids simple technology like Google, or even just storing written text and being able to search it. That way people can look at your notebooks, and that you have to fight with swords. Even at that you are supposed to believe there is a galactic war going on. I am not sure how you fight a space battle with swords. Also I found it frustrating that unlike Red Rising, the book never goes into what the regular people do or how they fit in, only the ruling class. This makes the context of the story feel flat. Also this book is just a setup for the series. The narrator hints that he become despised and killed millions but all for good reason, but at the pace the book moves, that is in the distant distant future. The tone of the book feels incorrect. It is supposed to be told from the point of view of a first person reminiscence yet the language is usually that of a third person describing the scene. The performer is adequate, and may actually be better than that but the material requires him to take on an emotionless aire. The ending was intriguing enough that I might get the next in the series if my wish list is empty, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Red Rising + Dune + Name of the Wind

wow that was a surprise. I didnt expect the scale or prose or complexity . Ruocchio totally pulled me in and made wish for sequels at only half way through.

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  • cms
  • 2018-11-05

Intelligent Sci-fi

Ruocchio's impressive debut novel is richly rendered, sociopolitically complex, and immersive. An intelligent work of science fiction, Empire of Silence will also appeal to fantasy fans and some history fans thanks to its inclusion of fantasy conventions and historical technology and references, such as castles, swordplay, and Greco-Roman cultural influences. In Empire of Silence, Ruocchio built a psychologically layered hero (anti-hero?) by means of a skillfully woven plot that drew me into the colorful worlds of Hadrian's far-future Milky Way galaxy and left me desperate for the next book in the series.

7 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 2018-07-12

Slow start, picks up the pace

Although the book starts slowly it picks up speed by the second half and really draws you into an established world. I'd recommend this to fans of Red Rising, Dune, and Old Man's War.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Charles Grayson
  • 2019-09-22

Heavy investment

I see some reviewers are saying the story is very slow. Yes, it is, and I fully understand why a reader might bail on it. The MC has a lot of introspection, with internal debates on ethics and philosophy. That slows down even scenes which ought to be intense. But I couldn't look away, just like you can't look away from car crash. The author devotes a lot of effort towards world-building and the world is horrible indeed. The Empire that surrounds our MC is the love child of the Spanish Inquisition, 1984, and pre-Revolution France. Our MC is a soft-hearted young man in a hard universe and he is helpless, lost, confused, and weak. His efforts to control his fate are mostly ineffectual and it's frustrating to watch; but it's also hard to imagine how he could have done better, given the forces stacked against him. Although it takes what seems like forever, he gradually becomes less helpless, but still far from hero material. A major aspect of the story is that the author instills immense amounts of foreshadowing on almost every page, to the point where it's a bit wearisome. We know that our MC eventually precipitates great events, both good and bad, and it's hard to avoid being curious as to how he becomes that sort of person. That will probably keep me listening.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Austin E
  • 2018-11-05

From Slow Start to Can't Stop

Are you a fan of Sanderson's Worlds of Radiance or Rothfuss Kingkiller Chronicles? Because if you are, Empire of Silence will probably be right up your ally. But it's not just The Name of the Wind in space, though it does share a number of themes with that book. Chris Ruocchio does an excellent job slowly bringing his universe to life through tantalizing snippets of world-building and foreshadowing. I'm extremely excited for the next book to come out, though it seems we'll have to wait until mid 2019 for that to come. Word of warning, though. Others have mentioned it, but the book is slow to start, and a bit confusing. You get dropped right into a world of unfamiliar terms without any helpful guidance on what they mean. Ruocchio excels at giving context, but he doesn't spoon feed you. Give the book at least a couple hours to come into its own and you'll be glad you did.

7 people found this helpful

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  • paul nordquist
  • 2019-08-21

A Slow start at best....then the story tapers off

Having read some of the higher ratings I took a chance on this book. The narrator is very good, but the story is mired in meandering wordsmith that delivers no real drama but just drones on and on. There were several instances were the story could have built interesting story lines only to fall back on the protagonist's internal reflections that were so predictable they border on ad nauseam. That this has almost a 4.5 rating makes me wonder who is writing and rating these stories. If you are looking for and outstanding read, try the Red sister or Mist Born series....they have all of the characteristics of a good read. Hope somebody reads this. Cheers....

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-10-30

So good!

I greedily await the next books in this series. Please keep them coming. Thank you for spending the time to create this quality of work.

2 people found this helpful

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  • KCJ
  • 2018-08-29

Epic Space Opera... Instant classic

A lot of what i've read in reviews compares this book, fairly or unfairly, to Dune. A small homage, sure, but I may have not made that connection to Dune if others had not pointed it out. I mean it's a HUGE book, a HUGE world/Universe, but this book is its own and in my opinion, an instant classic. That's the real comparison between the 2, Classic... That said, for me, the original Dune is slow and drawn out... I know that makes me unpopular. I enjoyed it and recommend people read it but wont read it a second time. I would read/listen to Empire of Silence a second time. The slow points of the book are needed and not just filler, the pacing is current and keeps you engaged wanting to know more about the Sun Eater universe and it's characters. The world/universe building and character building is FANTASTIC! You really care about Hadrian in spite of knowing from the book blurb the atrocities to come. This book is emotional and touches lightly but with intent on politics (new and old). It's frustrating at times, even to the point of making you angry. You cheer and route and during my commute more than once I fist pumped in the air with joy. It draws you in, brings you up and down and side to side with it. Final thoughts: 1) I tried to do this review in a way that it doesn't give spoilers so sorry for the broad strokes! 2) This is my first time listening to the narrator Samuel Roukin and really enjoyed his narration. It always takes a bit to get used to a knew voice, but shortly after starting you settle in and just enjoy the ride. He does an excellent job and i'll definitely listen to him again. 3) It's a great book, cant wait for book 2... and If you read this and haven't listened to or read book 1... then you are seriously missing out... get it in the queue or get it in the cart and enjoy!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Dave.Dolan
  • 2020-04-07

fantastic! all around

A rich story full of well developed and solid characters. the ruminations of the narrating protagonist are both thought provoking and artfully delivered.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-10-06

Truly EPIC.

JUST LISTEN. An all-time favorite of mine now. Time for book 2! Grand Scale Space Opera.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Pam
  • 2019-09-18

Hadrian's story grabs you

This is the story of Hadrian Marlowe, told by Hadrian. The narration is spot-on by Samuel Roukin. When reading the book's description we kinda knew what Hadrian would become; a hero to some, a monster to others. Empire of Silence is the coming of age story, as the old man looks back relating his story. Unfairly treated by his father, Hadrian tries to embark on his own path, but that path is never easy. Hadrian does the best he can to avoid being the person he doesn't want to be, but obstacle after obstacle gets in his way, with circumstances ever changing and losing people he loves. I never found myself bored while listening to Hadrian's journey and after 26 hours it's just getting started. An epic space fantasy not to be overlooked.

1 person found this helpful